Message from Roylene Rides at the Door, State Conservationist
Washington State Conservationist Roylene Rides at the
Unpredictable temperatures, rain, hail, thunder storms, and
everything in bloom - it sure does feel like spring! This is one of
my favorite times of year, a time of transition and the revival of
beauty and growth is all around us. This beauty and growth isn't
just seen in the flowers and trees touched by Mother Nature, it can
also be seen in the work we all do conserving our precious resources
in Washington State.
Every time I write one of these updates, I feel like I am talking
about change. In the 5th century, noted philosopher Heraclitus said, "The only
constant is change." This notion still rings
true today in the 21st century - every day, every one of us is faced
with the inevitability of change. I am so inspired by your
ability to move and grow with the times. NRCS is ever moving and
changing, and I am humbled by the great work in conservation you continue to complete in these tumultuous times.
Some updates for the coming months:
This year, the FY 2013 budget process builds upon lessons learned
during FY 2012 and sets the foundation for an agency-wide Integrated
Performance Planning and Budget Process. The new budget process will
include: estimated Key Performance Measure accomplishments,
estimated breakdown of staff years by program, financial assistance
funding needs by program and landscape initiatives and technical
assistance funding needs by program and budget object class. This
process will reflect the important work that needs to be
accomplished in Washington and identify the resources needed to meet
I realize that there are a lot of questions on the issue of office
space for the conservation districts (CDs). We as leadership (WACD, WSCC
and NRCS) have appointed the Partner Space Committee, which is
meeting regularly to work out options on this issue. The committee
has been working for over a month on collecting data that reflects
the NRCS and CD staffing by location, the current lease expiration
date, the combined NRCS and CD lease costs, and the estimated NRCS
and CD prorated share of lease costs based on the staffing numbers
to determine if districts are impacted. Once a more detailed
determination is completed then the committee will be looking at
options. Nothing is set in stone as of now, and there have been no
bills issued to any CD and no bills will be issued until supporting
agreements are in place. None of the previous agreements are being
billed; new agreements will replace each of those old agreements.
Hopefully you have seen my email regarding the NRCS-WA Fitness
Challenge. One of the key issues identified in the morale survey
that you participated in was excess stress. So to deal with this
issue, the State Leadership Team (SLT) and I thought a fitness
challenge would help us relieve some stress and give to a good
cause. The challenge, which began June 1, is a fun way to relieve
your excess stress, engage in some friendly competition, and give to
a good cause. For every mile you log, the SLT will pay 1˘ to the
Combined Federal Campaign. If you haven't started walking, biking,
or working out - it's not too late! The challenge will run
throughout the summer until September 30.
In national news, the Senate voted on June 7, 2012 to advance their
version of the Farm Bill that will set the nation's nutrition and
agriculture policy for the next five years. With the vote, the
Senate will begin about a week of debate to consider the bill and
amendments. The entirety of how NRCS' programs will be affected by
the new bill is not known yet, but I trust that you will be at
your very best.
As we transition through this time of change, do not lose sight of
the mission of the NRCS. You are a very important part of Helping
People Help the Land.
See what's happen' with employees around the
state.The following personnel changes for this quarter have been supplied by
our state Human Resources department.
Jeff Harlow, transferred from NRCS Pacific Island State Office to the
Assistant State Conservationist (Programs), Spokane State Office effective
Scott Wolf, promoted to the Soil Conservationist, Ephrata Field Office,
Samantha Bartling, RC&D Coordinator, Okanogan Field Office, transferred
to NRCS Oregon, effective, 4/22/12.
Manuel Gonzalez, Engineer SCEP, MT Vernon Field Office, reassigned to
NRCS Utah, effective, 4/22/12.
Colleen Winchester, Resource Conservationist, Colfax Field Office,
resigned effective 3/30/12.
David Kreft, Supervisor Soil Conservationist, Colville Field Office,
reassigned as the newly established State WRP Coordinator, Spokane State Office,
David Welk, Soil Conservation Technician, Spokane Service Center, retired
Timothy Riebe, Soil Scientist, Spokane Soil Survey Office promoted and
transferred to NRCS Alaska effective 4/22/12.
Sherre Copeland, State Partnership Liaison, directed reassignment from
the Spokane State Office to the West Area Conservation Office effective 3/19/12.
Dan Olson, Soil Conservationist, Okanogan Field Office promoted and
transferred to NRCS Colorado effective 4/22/12.
Jonathan George, Soil Conservationist, Toppenish Field Office promoted
and transferred to NRCS California effective 4/22/12.
Andrea Mann, RC&D Coordinator, Ephrata Field Office transferred to NRCS
Oregon effective 4/22/12.
Gina Kerzman, detail ended as Public Affairs Officer, Spokane State
Office, effective 2/4/12.
Richard Edlund, detail ended as Acting Area Conservationist, East Area
Office, effective 2/4/12.
Doug Allen, detailed as Acting State Conservationist (Programs) for the
Spokane State Office, effective, 2/27/12. Detail ended 3/24/12
Georgia Sormun, detail ended as Acting Secretary for the State
Conservationist effective 4/7/12.
Amy Smith, detailed as Acting State Contracting Officer, Spokane State
Office effective 3/12/12.
Ron Joyner, detailed to National Headquarters as a Contracting Officer
effective 3/12/12. Detail ended 5/7/12.
Eileen Jackson, detailed to National Headquarters as a Human Resources
Officer. Detail is ongoing.
Kathy Dickerson, detailed to NRCS Wyoming as a Human Resource Specialist.
Detail is ongoing.
Rebecca Toupal, name changed to Rebecca Stuart effective 3/11/12.
Conservation Activities in
The State Office Geotechnology Team has developed two new maps
for NRCS planners! The new maps cover Washington State and
feature information related to Plant Hardiness Zones and Growing
Degree Days. The maps can be found on the Washington State eFOTG
under Section I/Maps. Hopefully you will find them useful!
We congratulate Okanogan County Wildlife Habitat Farmer of the Year,
Mark Nysether of the Sea Real Corporation, for his hard work encouraging
wildlife, riparian health, and dedication to agriculture by improving
grazing management on his place in the Methow Valley.
Snow surveys, such as those conducted in Okanogan County on March 29, 2012,
showed average to much above average snowpack across the state. Statewide, April
1 readings were measured to be 137 percent of average. April 1 is the primary
target date when mountain snowpack typically reaches its peak before beginning
the annual melt cycle.
Soil scientists with Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Spokane
County Conservation District (SCCD) have completed the update of the Spokane
County Soil Survey.
Woodland and family forest land owners of Washington State will get better
coordinated service to help improve their conservation and management under a
new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by state and federal agencies.
On January 27, 2012 Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever announced the hiring
of two new Farm Bill wildlife biologists in Washington State. The purpose of the
Pheasants Forever Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist Program is to hire biologists to
work with area landowners, farmers and ranchers to implement wildlife habitat
Hiring and Diversity
Submitted by Cathy Firth, Human Resources Specialist, Spokane
On August 18, 2011, President Barak Obama released an executive
order to promote diversity and inclusion in the work force. “By
this order, I am directing executive departments and agencies
(agencies) to develop and implement a more comprehensive,
integrated, and strategic focus on diversity and inclusion as a
key component of their human resources strategies. This approach
should include a continuing effort to identify and adopt best
practices, implemented in an integrated manner, to promote
diversity and remove barriers to equal employment opportunity,
consistent with merit system principles and applicable law.”
We hope you have enjoyed the employee submitted articles highlighted
in this issue of Conservation Footprints. Please feel free to
submit your comments, suggestions and/or new articles for an
up-coming issue of this newsletter. View
past Conservation Footprints publications.
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